DoT cites IATF for allowing workshops, seminars in GCQ areas up to 30% capacity

Published December 4, 2020, 12:49 PM

by Hanah Tabios

The Department of Tourism welcomed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow the limited conduct of workshops, training, seminars, and other related events in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ).

Tourism chief Bernadette-Romulo Puyat (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The IATF has issued Resolution No. 87 allowing the conduct of these events up to 30 percent of the venue capacity.

This recent development strides to reboot the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions sector, according to the DoT.

“The DoT deems this latest development as very encouraging for the country’s meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions sector to spur forward and backward linkages in tourism and other sectors concerned,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

“While the pandemic has taught organizers to embrace technology, some gatherings in a physical setup can now proceed, with health and safety protocols in place. We are optimistic that the country’s MICE sector shall start to thrive again, with the support of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in crafting the implementing guidelines,” she added.

But the IATF said only the following venues for indoor meetings will be allowed: Restaurants in general; restaurants attached to hotels; ballrooms and function rooms within hotels; other venues which may be in a separate building but within the hotel premises, and mall atria.

“Meanwhile, social events (like birth anniversaries, wedding, Christmas and office parties, pageants, award events, gala receptions, and shows), product launch events, political gatherings, cultural festivities, and sporting events are not yet covered,” Puyat said.

The IATF directed and authorized the DoT and DTI to formulate and issue the specific guidelines that will govern the conduct of these business-related meetings in these venues and establish health and safety protocols.

Local government units (LGUs) may also issue additional guidelines providing for stricter protocols among venues within their jurisdiction.

“The DoT shall continuously work on improving our guidelines and policies, making sure that these remain responsive to the changing needs of the industry, as the COVID-19 situation continues to be addressed,” Puyat said.

It was recalled that some of the events in the MICE sector were held online amid the pandemic.

The 7th Philippine MICE Conference offered discussions on key issues and concerns affecting the industry to industry professionals within the private and public sector and members of the academe for free.

The hybrid edition of the 2020 Philippine Travel Exchange was successfully held in Panglao Island, Bohol last September, generating over P42 million in revenue from on-site bookings, according to the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB).